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Man tells police he bought luxury car with cannabis — if only the vehicle hadn’t been reported as stolen

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And if only the weed used to pay for it was legal

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What’s worse than getting caught stealing a car? Perhaps admitting to paying for said appropriated auto with illegal cannabis while shopping with a friend.

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That’s what Memphis police allege took place after a 2010 Infiniti G37 was lifted from a parking lot in southeast Memphis during the early morning of Nov. 30. The police search for the car was made fairly easy, and its recovery pretty much inevitable, since the luxury vehicle was equipped with GPS tracking, per WREG.

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The 21-year-old man accused of taking the vehicle, as well as a female friend who had reportedly needed a ride, were seen the next day coming out of a store near where officers had tracked the vehicle and then getting inside the car.

Tennessee is one of less than a dozen U.S. states where cannabis is illegal for both medicinal and recreational use.

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“Despite the fact that marijuana is becoming legal for medicinal and recreational purposes in many states, Tennessee has been slower to implement laws that allow for marijuana use in any regard,” according to Raybin & Weissman, P.C.

“If you’ve been arrested on a marijuana charge, your life could be as severely impacted as it would be if you were facing any other type of drug crime.”

Apparently unaware the vehicle had been stolen, the woman was not arrested; the driver was not so fortunate. While being interviewed in custody, the 21-year-old reported said he had actually purchased the car, but did so with cannabis.

A search of the Infiniti revealed a bag of weed, although the amount was not specified, a digital scale and a stolen gun.

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The driver — who has since been charged with two counts of theft of property, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia — is set to appear in court on Dec. 6.

Possession of a half-ounce or less of cannabis is a misdemeanour charge carrying maximum jail time of a year and a fine, notes information from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Any more than 14 grams up to 4.5 kilograms of cannabis, however, is treated as a felony punishable by one to six years in prison and a US$5,000 ($6,700) fine.

Possession of drug paraphernalia, for its part, is a misdemeanour charge that can result in a year in jail and a fine of US$2,500 ($3,350).

It’s not clear if the Tennessee incident represents the first time an accused claimed to have bought a car with cannabis, but it’s certainly not the first time such as transaction has been suggested.

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In 2020, a Michigan man looking to buy a car in Indiana tried to do just that by using illegal weed. Deputies with the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office received a tip about the green purchasing plan involving an exchange of about 680 grams of marijuana for a new set of wheels.

In Indiana, possessing any amount of cannabis is a misdemeanour charge punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a US$1,000 ($1,340) fine, according to Marijuana and the Law. In Michigan, there is no penalty for possessing as much as 71 grams of cannabis or having up to 283 grams in the home.

In 2018 in Oregon, where both medicinal and adult-use cannabis is legal, the New York Post reported a man contacted a car dealer about a posted Mazda SUV and offered to trade cannabis for the vehicle. The car dealer, however, responded by calling the cops, who were on the scene when the 38-year-old turned up to make the swap.

And while an Ontario man wasn’t looking to trade for a whole car, he was open to exchanging weed for a bit of gas. Late last year in Caledon, Ont., a Brampton man charged with drunk driving tried to pay his tab for fuel not with a debit or credit card, but with cannabis, per insauga.

While recreational cannabis is legal for adults throughout Canada, exchanging weed for goods is not.

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